Investment Plan for Europe in Austria: fresh lending to help households and businesses build energy-efficient homes

  • In the context of EIB Group’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EIB will unlock part of Hypo Vorarlberg’s regulatory capital
  • The Austrian bank will use its increased capacity to support fresh lending to energy efficiency projects in line with the EIB’s commitments to increase its climate action lending
  • The EIB Group transaction benefits from support by the ‘Investment Plan for Europe´

The EIB Group, consisting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), has provided a mezzanine guarantee on a €330 million portfolio of mainly Austrian loans to SMEs and mid-caps, originated by Hypo Vorarlberg Bank AG. With this financial support, Hypo Vorarlberg will expand its lending to households, SMEs and mid-cap customers for new highly energy-efficient residential buildings. The transaction is timely and part of EIB Group’s response to support the Austrian economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The operation is supported by the Investment Plan for Europe under which the EIB and the European Commission are working together as strategic partners to boost the competitiveness of the European economy. The transaction also underlines EIB Group’s firm commitment in the field of synthetic securitisation in Austria to widen and diversify the scope of cooperation with a view to maximising its impact on the real economy. 

European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “Thanks to this support from the Investment Plan for Europe, Hypo Vorarlberg will be able to increase its lending capacity to households, SMEs and mid-caps for the construction of new energy-efficient homes. This initiative will help the hard-hit construction sector in this difficult time, as well as contributing to the achievement of our climate goals.”

Thomas Östros, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Austria, commented: “This transaction clearly leverages EIB Group synergies, and strengthens Hypo Vorarlberg’s capacity to increase its lending targeting the construction of new highly energy-efficient residential buildings. The new agreement demonstrates the EIB Group’s determination to deliver on its public commitment of being the EU climate bank, in line with the Paris agreement.”

EIF Chief Executive Alain Godard said: “The EIF is delighted to be signing this synthetic securitisation transaction with Hypo Vorarlberg to support SMEs and mid-caps in Austria and Germany. During these difficult times, it is very encouraging that we have been able to build on our strong relationship with Hypo Vorarlberg Bank in order to provide capital relief that will in turn generate fresh financing for climate-friendly initiatives.”

Michel Haller, Chairman of Hypo Vorarlberg’s Managing Board, said: “The second synthetic securitisation of Hypo Vorarlberg will further strengthen our capital base, creating an important prerequisite for the bank to support the regional economy. Thus, the COVID crisis can be overcome in the best possible way and an important impulse for a sustainable construction industry can be given. The securitisation instrument developed in conjunction with the EIB and EIF is thus important and forward-looking for the bank’s capital and credit risk management.”

Background information

About the EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

About the EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the EIB Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment

About Hypo Vorarlberg

Hypo Vorarlberg Bank AG (Hypo Vorarlberg) is a regional bank that offers a comprehensive range of retail and corporate banking products and services. In Austria Hypo Vorarlberg operates through a network of 18 branches. Internationally, the bank serves customers in the adjacent Lake Constance region (Germany and Switzerland) and through its leasing subsidiaries in Northern Italy (Bolzano).

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe is an EU initiative to boost investment and to create jobs and growth. Through guarantees from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the EIB and the EIF are able to take on a higher share of project risk, encouraging private finance providers to participate in the projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise €535.4 billion in investments and support around more than 1.4 million start-ups and SMEs across all EU Member States.